tv Senate Takes Up Deputy Secretary of State Nomination CSPAN May 23, 2017 9:59am-12:34pm EDT
significant, played a very significant negative role relative to ournational security . the release of information not only undermines confidence in our allies but our ability to maintain secure information that we share with them. that jeopardizes sources and methods that are invaluable to our ability to find out what'sgoing on and what those threats are . >> lives are at stake in many instances and weeks jeopardizes lives. >> thank you. in light of the tragedy in manchester last night, >> we can continue watching online at c-span.org. we take you live to the senate where debate will begin on the nomination to be very secretary of state, john
sullivan and that 11 am voting on whether to move forward with that nomination with a simple majority needed to advance. a confirmation vote possible tomorrow unless senators agree to hold that the earlier and sent recessing for up to 215 for their weekly party lunches. yesterday the senate confirmed the longest-serving governor in us history to be the next ambassador to china. iowa republican terry branstad. >> the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, the fountain of every blessing, we praise you
for your loving kindness and tender mercies. we are astounded by your wonderful works to the children of humanity. lord, we are incomplete without you. fill our thirst for the knowledge of the sacred with your divine wisdom. today, inspire our lawmakers to do your will. may they bring love where there is hate, light where there is darkness, and hope where there is despair. lord, use them to transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows
and to bring harmony from disharmony. may they rejoice because of the blessing of sins forgiven, striving to glorify you in all they do. and, lord, stay close to those affected by the bombing in manchester, england. we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
minister may, a coward terrorist attack that stood out for its appalling, sickening, cowardice, deliberate rattily targeting -- dib rattily targeting defenseless children and young people that should have been enjoying the one of the most memorable night of their lives. though we'll continue to learn more about what happened, this much is very clear: many have died, many more have been injured. and as the prime minister told us, many of them were children. it's hard to imagine the pain that the families of these victims must be feeling today. so on behalf of the senate and our country, let me express our heartfelt condolences to the victims, their families, and to the british people who have been our friends and allies through many challenges. the senate also recognizes that many first responders, medical
professionals, and citizens who stepped in to provide help. as i speak, i know that the intelligence professionals from both of our countries are already working to discover whether this was the result of an individual attacker or directed by isil. in either case, the people of america will stand with our allies and provide any assistance we possibly can. as colleagues know, it's once again the time of the year when congress gets to work putting together the next budget. one of the initial steps in the process is typically for the president to send up a blueprint of his own laying out his priorities as members continue to work through the conversations here as well. the president's budget is being released this morning, and here are a few things we should know about it already. it builds on the progress made earlier this month on defense, prioritizing more of the
resources our service members need. it builds on progress made earlier this month on border security, calling for investing in more of the infrastructure and technology our law enforcement officers actually need. and unlike any of president obama's budget blueprints, this one actually achieves balance. the provisions i mentioned are encouraging to see. i'm sure they will serve as guideposts for chairman enzi and the rest of the budget committee as they move forward on this matter. i also appreciate the president's commitment to slowing the growth of mandatory spending, which if left unaddressed, could eventually limit our ability to invest in nearly anything else as the debt and the interest we have to pay on it increases and crowds out spending on other major priorities. this thursday treasury secretary
mnuchin will testify before the finance committee on the budget blueprint, and with it the administration's interest in tax reform. i know we're all eager to learn more from him and look forward to working with the administration to make our tax code simpler and fairer for the american people and american businesses. over the years our tax system has grown only more complex and more punitive. putting both individuals and employers at a disadvantage while also inadvertently incentivizing american companies and jobs to leave this country to go overseas. it's evident that we need serious reforms to our tax code, the type that will help families keep more of their hard-earned money while also helping businesses put more americans to work. by implementing tax reform, we can again encourage investment in our country, allowing american businesses to expand, hire more workers, improve
wages and offer better benefits. in turn, families will have access to more opportunities and will be better positioned to actually get ahead. it's been over three decades since we passed comprehensive tax reform, and it's past time that we do something about it. fortunately, we now have an administration that shares this interest in finally improving our tax system instead of making it even more convoluted and constricting and without demanding $1 trillion in new taxes for the government. easing the burden on the middle class and getting the economy moving again are top concerns here in the republican senate. we understand that for the past eight years too many families struggled under the weight of an economy that failed to reach its potential. too many took home wages that didn't meet their needs. too many saw opportunity slip away. we understand that these families deserve a change in direction and expect each of us to do what we can to get the
economy moving again soon. that's why we passed legislation to provide relief from obama-era regulations that stifled growth and it's why we'll keep working to advance more legislative solutions that can help hardworking americans. tax reform is one way we can do just that. this is an area where republicans and democrats have been able to find some common ground in the past, and i'm hopeful our friends across the aisle will join us in, woulding toward comprehensive -- would join us in working toward comprehensive tax reform one more time. either way the republican senate remains committed to help with tax reform so we can promote wage growth all across our country. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask that further proceedings on the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the sullivan nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of state, john j. sullivan of maryland to be deputy secretary. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 11:00 a.m. will be equally divided in the usual form. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: without
objection. the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 54, courtney elwood to be the general counsel of the c.i.a. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, central intelligence agency, courtney elwood of virginia to be general counsel. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of courtney elwood of
virginia to be general counsel of the central intelligence agency, signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum call with respect to the cloture motion be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the senate resume consideration of the sullivan nomination. the presiding officer: without objection.
mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: mr. president, first, the senate's thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in manchester, england. such violence is particularly heart breaking when it happens as it did in manchester at a concert with so many young people there to enjoy. we mourn the families of the victims of last night's terrorist attack. we hope the perpetrators are quickly found and brought to justice. mr. president, i saw on tv a mother waiting, trying to e-mail or text her daughter. she got no answer. she was wondering where her
daughter is. it brought back the horrible memories for me after 9/11, the day after when i went up there and saw hundreds of people holding up signs, have you seen my wife evelyn? have you seen my son john? not knowing if they were alive or dead. most of them ended up being dead. we hope and pray that that mother and all the other mothers who are waiting and fathers, brothers and sisters who are waiting for news that maybe their child, their relative is alive will find them alive. our prayers go out to them. okay. now, on another matter completely, last night, it was reported in "the washington post" that president trump attempted to enlist the director of national intelligence, dan coats, and the director of the national security agency, admiral rogers, in helping the administration push back against reports in the press about an investigation into the
president's campaign and its potential ties to russia. according to the same reporting, white house staff may also have, quote, sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly, unquote, with the f.b.i. and mr. comey to get him to drop the investigation into general flynn. if these reports are accurate, it's another piece of now-mounting evidence that this white house has no interest, no interest in allowing the russian investigation to proceed without partisan interference and the white house seems to have little respect for the principles of rule of law. we haven't quite seen anything like it in a very long time. such allegations only reinforce the correctness of the decision to appoint special counsel mueller to oversee the investigation and should strengthen our resolve to ensure
that he is insulated from interference from this white house. and, mr. president, such allegations also strengthen again the need for an independent, nonpartisan f.b.i. director. with all these reports of attempts to interfere with the investigation, we cannot have an f.b.i. director who has political background, who doesn't seem right down the middle, who doesn't seem to be a director's director, a prosecutor's prosecutor, an investigators' investigator. no politician or candidate with insufficient impartiality should be selected by the president or confirmed by the senate, and we democrats will stand very, very strongly for that. given the almost daily reports about potential -- potentially meddling and misconduct by this administration, congress must exercise its oversight authority in order to keep this
administration in check. both the executive branch and the congressional investigations must proceed. and this is not about politics or political advantage. when a foreign power, particularly an enemy of our country like putin and russia, try to interfere in our elections and will probably do it again in the future, we have to know everything that happened, who participated and make sure it doesn't happen again. and if people who participated in it, if there are such people, get away with it this time, many more will do it next time. so this is an issue of national interest, national security and even the future of our democracy. i remind my colleagues that in our constitution, the founding fathers worried about foreign interference in our government. when i read that in high school and again in college, i said, well, that doesn't seem real. it's all too real today, showing both the wisdom of the founding fathers and the need for strong oversight.
now, on the budget. today the president will release his full budget for fiscal year 2018. from all indications, the trump budget will seek deep cuts to programs that help the middle class and working america while providing more handouts for the rich. it will cut to the bone programs that help the elderly, the poor while adding money for an unnecessary, ineffective border wall that continues to have bipartisan opposition and to make all the math work, the trump budget makes nirl unfounded sumgz about economic growth. in short, the trump budget takes a sledgehammer to the middle class and the working poor, lavishes tax breaks on the wealthy and imagines all of the deficit problems away with fantasy math. the trump budget exists somewhere over the rainbow where the dreams of nick mulvaney,
paul ryan and the koch brothers really do come true. of course, these dreams are a nightmare for the average working american. we expect the trump budget will make deep cuts to the national institute of health and centers for disease control. let me ask how many people in america want to cut cancer research when it's done such good? well, president trump evidently does. it's his budget. the kneecap research that develops new cures, damaging our ability to continue to prevent the outbreak of disease. we're all living longer and healthier, in part because of this research. do we want to stop it, cut it back so we can give tax breaks to wealthy people who god bless them are doing great already. we expect the trump budget to slash programs like meals on wheels. we even read in the newspaper this morning that the head of
the freedom caucus said that for him even some of these cuts were too great. snap benefits, helping making sure no kid goes to bed hungry in america. this is america. we've always done this. and the children's health insurance program. cruelly ripping away the liveliness from americans who need them most, the chirp, the working poor, the elderly. we expect the trump budget will cut transportation funding, education funding and programs that help students repay their student loan debt. one of the great problems in america, the debt on the backs, the burden of average kids getting out of college, middle-class kids. we're going to make it harder? what is going on here? what is going on in the white house with this kind of budget? our college kids when they get
out, they need to be able to live real good lives and not have this burden of debt on their shoulders which they are struggling under now and we're going to make it worse. we also -- it's amazing but trul break trump's promise to protect social security and medicaid from cuts, both of them. he promised over and over again he wouldn't cut social security, medicare and medicaid. medicare is not cut here. medicaid is and social security is. on social security, the budget will cut social security disability benefits to many americans who have earned them and paid for those benefits. you can say well, it doesn't cut old age benefits for the elderly. wait. if they get away with this, the elderly will be next on the chopping block because the goal, it seems, of this budget is cut everything you can so you can give even more tax breaks to the wealthiest people, koch brothers type of thinking. it will also seek hundreds of
billions of dollars, additional cuts in medicaid. the budget cuts medicaid on top of the cuts that were made in the house bill on trumpcare. and what'll that do? medicaid has become a middle-class program. 60% of the people in nursing homes, medicaid funds it. what are we going to tell a couple with three kids -- say they're 40 or 45. they have three kids. they're saving for college. they're struggling, but at least they know that mom or dad, who needs help is in a nursing home. this budget passes, that family is going to have a terrible choice: take hundreds of dollars a month out of their own budget and give it to pay for the nursing home or find a place for mom and dad to live. maybe at home, but maybe there's no room in the house.
awful. that's what they're doing. and who else will it hurt? opioid addiction. much of our progress that we're trying to make on opioid addiction comes through medicaid because they give treatment. we need both -- law enforcement -- i am a tough law enforcement guy; you know that. but we also need treatment. i've had fathers cry in my arms because their son -- their sons -- in this case it was both sons -- were waiting online for treatment and died of an overdose. what a burden a parent has to live with. we should cut that and cut it to give more tax breaks to the ri rich. it's an america turned upside down in this budget. i represent new york state. it is known for its big city, new york city.
we also have large cities upstate. i'm very familiar with rural america. in many of my counties in upstate new york -- and this is true throughout rural counties, throughout america -- the largest employer is the rural hospital, and that hospital is the only hospital around for mile and miles and miles if, god forbid, you have a stroke and you have to be rush there had to get yourself better. well, go talk to our rural hospitals, these rural hospitals, which are the beating heart of our local economy, employing hundreds -- sometimes even thousands -- of people. well, nearly one in three rural hospitals today are at risk of closure. it's more expensive to run a rural hospital. people in rural areas are entitled to the same health care. so that means buying all these fancy machines. in an urban area, those machines can run 24/7 and get the reimbursement back. but in a rural area, they can't.
there's not that many people. but they get some help. the trump cuts to medicaid would cause a whole bunch of these rural hospitals to close and many more to lay off employees. hurting health care in rural america, hurting jobs in rural america -- places that need help. the trump budget, on top of trumpcare, which seeks more than $800 billion in cuts to medicaid, would decimate health care options for rural americans and pull the plug on many of these rural hospitals. and some of my colleagues will be talking more about that this morning. when youd a add -- when you add all of it up -- mr. president, when you add all of it up, the trump budget is comic book villain bad. and just like comic books, it relies on a fantasy to make all the numbers work. it's the kind of budget you might expect from someone who is
openly rooting for a government shutdown. haven't we heard the president say that? it's the latest example of the president breaking his promises to working americans. this budget breaks promise after promise after promise that the president made to what he called the forgotten america, the working men and women of america. he said he'd help them, and this budget goes directly against them. in his speech to congress, for instance, earlier this year the president called education, quote, the civil rights issue of our time, but his budget guts vital school programs -- our future, our kids. he said, quote, cures to illness have always been plagued -- sorry, he said, quote -- this is the president's quote -- cures to illnesses that have always plagued us are not too much -- are not too much to hope -- quote -- but his budget slashes
funding to n.i.h. and c.d.c., where they do this research. and he said -- his budget would cut social security disability insurance and end medicaid as we know it. the trump budget is one giant, brazen, broken promise to the working men and women of america. it completely abandons them. fundamentally, this is a deeply unserious proposal that should wounroundly be rejected -- that should roundly be rejected by both parties here in congress. i'm optimistic that that's what will happen. we should follow the same blueprint as we did in the 2017 budget. both democrats and republicans in the house and senate, in a bipartisan way -- everyone compromises -- we should get together and negotiate a serious proposal that maintains our commitments to the middle class and actually sets our economy up
to grow. we cannot let the president so turn america inside out with his budget. we have to stand together, democrats and republicans, and reject it for the sake of middle-class and working americans. the trump budget, hopefully, will not see the light of day. i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, it was quite edifying to be sitting here listening to the democratic leader speak this morning during the morning remarks expressing his concern for health care, rural hospitals, talk about his concerns about delivering health care to the poor.
it's ironic, indeed, because at a time when obamacare -- the affordable care act -- is literally in meltdown with unaffordable premiums and deductibles, we're not seeing any help whatsoever from our democratic colleagues, and i would suggest that rather than rail against the president's budget, that they ought to be engaged in a more constructive process of working with us to make sure that we can deliver on the promise of affordable health care to all americans. and then, of course, is the matter of the president's budget itself. i remember president obama's last budget got voted on here in the united states senate. it got one vote -- one vote. presidents' budgets are not binding on the congress. congress passes a budget resolution -- both houses -- and we anticipate doing that again.
the president's budget is really a statement of the president's priorities and, frankly, there are some things in the president's proposed budget that i think are worthwhile, things like securing our border. at the end the day, it's the job of congress, though, to pass a budget that reflects the priorities of our country, but i think it's worth pointing out several aspects of the president's budget that are encouraging and a welcome change from the previous administration. for one, it balances in ten years. i would love to have our democratic colleagues express some concern for the fact -- some concern for the fact that we continue to spend money that we don't have and impose the burden of repaying that money someday on future generations. to me, that's one of the most immoral things that we do in this country is we spend the money today and we leave the debt to our children and grandchildren to pay that back, which they must, at some point.
so when the president proposes a budget that actually balances in ten years, i think that's a good thing. what a welcome relief from a white house budget anchored around overspending and growing the size of government, which we've seen for the last eight years. the other thing that the president's budget does is it reverses the artificial cap we put on defense spending p. of all the things the federal government does, national security is job number one. you can't outsource that to anybody. it is our number-one responsibility to keep the country safe and to keep america strong. under the obama administration, there was a cap put in place which prevented increased military spending, and indeed we saw cuts to the military of about 20% during the obama years. so one thing that the president -- one thing that
president trump has done, which i find a welcome sign, is that it wants to properly resource our military, so we can better defend against increasing threats around the world. it is simply irresponsible for us to allow our men and women in the military to operate on slashed budgets and outdated equipment. they can't even train and be ready for the next fight. that is the best deterrent to war and the best assurance of peace is a strong america. the president's budget reflects a better understanding of the threat environment ahead, and for that i am grateful. so rather than railing against the president's budget, which he knows will not be passed into law because no president's budget ever becomes law; it is a proposal of the president's priorities. and, as i say, there's much to like among the president's priorities -- balancing the budget, emphasizing national
security spending and the like. but ultimately we will have to come up with a budget ourselves, and so i find the democratic leader's railing against the president's budget, which he knows will not become law as written, someone ironic. -- somewhat ironic. mr. president, on another matter, i have the privilege of serving as the chairman of the judiciary subcommittee on border security and immigration. it is a role that i traik seriously in light of the -- it is a role that i take seriously in light of our many challenges when it comes to security and trade along our southern border. the texas-mexico border makes up more than 60% of the total u.s. southern border. that means that texas is at the epicenter of the national security conversation and the
u.s. economy that reaps bilateral trade. later today the subcommittee will have a chance to examine this important topic and consider ways that congress can help the trump administration make america safer and our borders stronger. i look hearing from chief ron batello, currently acting deputy commissioner, the head border patrol agent for the federal government and a man who spent many years on the front lines and knows from experience the challenges that exist in securing the border. customs and border patrol agents and officers face a range of challenges every day, working in some of the most inhospitable environments in remote locations and often without adequate resources for equipment. they work tirelessly to combat drug trafficking and arms smuggling, illegal immigration
and human trafficking while working to facilitate legitimate trade and travel between mexico and the united states. i spoke a little bit about this yesterday, in light of nafta's importance to the texas and u.s. economy. texas is the first point of entry for many goods and people coming from all over the world, and it takes a solid team of customs and border patrol professionals and good leadership to manage the border and the many ports of entry along it. so i'm grateful to chief batello for his hard work and look forward to his testimony this afternoon. this administration has made clear that securing the border is a top priority, and i agree with that. and i'm confident that with top-notch leaders like secretary kelly of the department of homeland security and attorney general jeff sessions, we will finally make real progress towards getting it done. the appropriations bill that was
recently signed into law included the largest increase for border security technologies and infrastructure improvement in more than a decade and, fortunately, the president's budget supports increased investment in border security and immigration enforcement as well, including new infrastructure and technologies to help us achieve operational control of the southern border. this focus on border security is a welcome change from the previous administration, and i'm glad we now have leaders who will take the need to achieve true border security seriously. i've always said that border security ultimately is a matter of political will. the obama administration didn't have it. the trump administration does. and with the political will and with the guidance of experts like chief batello and others to tell us exactly what the border patrol needs in order to secure the border, i'm confident of our
ability to get it done. but i'll just relate a conversation i had with the chief of the rio grande valley border patrol sector chief padilla. he has long served in the border patrol at many different places along the border and of course the border is very different. fo the bored is different -- the border is different there. separated by the rio grande river by mexico. what chief padillo said to me which i believe is absolutely the case is that it takes three different things to secure the border. it takes infrastructure. you can call it fencing like the safe, secure fence act that we passed a few years ago that almost all of our democratic colleagues voted for. it takes things like levee walls
like we have in the rio grande valley. but it also takes technology. and it takes the personnel, because we know that no piece of infrastructure alone is going to provide the security we need. but fundamentally, mr. president, we need to regain the people's trust, the confidence that the federal government will carry out its primary responsibility to protect our citizens and defend our borders. border security is complex. it's multifaceted and requires an approach that includes air, sea, and land. but that's why we need a multilayered approach to border security that includes infrastructure like the president talks about frequently when he talks about the wall. it takes technology, and it takes the men and women in the border patrol who do the dangerous but important work of keeping our border secure and keeping our country safe.
mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: shortly we'll be voting on cloture on the nomination of john is you sullio be deputy secretary of state. i urge my colleagues to support the cloture motion and support the nomination of john sullivan to be the next deputy secretary of state. before i begin, i do want to express i strongly condemn yesterday's heartbreaking attack in manchester. i want to express my sincere condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones, especially the innocent and defenseless children who were brutally killed. as a father and grandfather, i mourn with them, and i'm praying for the recovery of the injured. the united states stands in firm sol solidarity with our friends in the united kingdom. the united states should provide
all necessary assistance as british authorities work to bring those responsible to justice. i know i speak for all my colleagues in the senate in our solidarity with our friends in the united kingdom. mr. president, in regards to mr. sullivan's nomination to be deputy secretary of state, he's well qualified for that position. he has served in the justice department, in the private practice of law. he served as deputy general counsel at the department of defense. he also has been involved in the department of commerce where he was general counsel and deputy secretary. so he's well familiar with government and has served in a public position as well as brings the private experience as a lawyer to the position of deputy secretary of state. i do want to point out as i pointed out to mr. sullivan, as most of the members of our committee did, that he will be, find himself home alone for
a period of time in that the trump administration has not submitted to congress nominees for important positions at the department of state. yes, i have confidence in the career people at the department of state, but there are times that you have to have a confirmed person in control in order to advance policies. so it's important from embassy security to fighting terrorism to health and humanitarian challenges we have around the world in the administration of our missions and all the countries around the world that we have a team in place. the trump administration has been the slowest in providing us with qualified individuals to fill these positions. thus far the administration has decided to treat the state department as an inconvenience rather than as a critical national security asset. secondly, i want to express my concern that's going to make mre
difficult in the international affairs budget for fy 2018 that the administration is unveiling today. although we are still receiving details, as i look at the massive spending cuts for vital national security, it's impossible to include this as anything but an american alone budget, one that if enacted will have disastrous effects on our standing in the world. let me just repeat one more time, that the money we spend on development assistance, on diplomacy, that we spend in regards to helping our allies around the world and countries around the world is part of our national security budget. it's part of our national security budget. and yet, the president's fy 2018 budget would compromise national security. as secretary mattis has said, often quoted on this floor, if you don't give the secretary of state, if you don't give the state department the resources it needs, you better be prepared to give me more ammunition and soldiers, because it's going to be more
costly for us to defend. so it's very disappointing that the budget r slashes critical sport to our allies in their -- support to our allies. it will slash funds to support defense needs of countless foreign partner countries and offer them the multiple option of going into debt with the united states to get the defense equipment they need. this is counter to the security interests of these country and prove a golden opportunity for russia and china to take the u.s. place. mr. president, this is serious business. if we don't help countries that are part of our coalition against terrorism, if we don't give them the resources to help us, then quite clearly our enemies will move in. russia, as we know, has done many things against u.s. interests. the void will be picked up
quickly by russia and china. it is a budget proposal that cuts support to the european allies to counter russia's aggression precisely when russia's assault on our democracy and the democracies of european countries reached a fever pitch. at a time when the united states should be standing up for our allies and partners in europe, this budget zeros out the assistance for europe, eurasia and central asia account and eliminates the european reassurance initiative altogether. this was an initiative that was set up to counter russia's influence in europe and we're going to zero that out. it is a budget proposal that walks away from the promotion of democratic values, slashes funding for human rights and democracy programs abroad and hollows out the ideas, initiatives and nukeses on which the u.s. -- and nukeses on which the u.s. leadership like the united nations peacekeeping. in his remarks in saudi arabia, president trump applauded jordan, turkey and lebanon for their role in hosting refugees.
and yet, the draconian humanitarian funding cuts would harm these friends and allies who are hosting millions of refugees. what an inconsistent message. it eliminates the u.n. emergency food aid program at a time of famine in africa, in the middle east. if these budget cuts are implemented many people around the world will die as a result of diminished resources and support that would result. we can't let that happen. it is a budget proposal that undermines our ability to deal with pressing national security challenges, including development assistance, humanitarian aid and climate change. the administration's budget proposal slashes more than 30% from our foreign assistance budget and dramatically cuts support critical programs to save lives of mothers and childbirth, feed hungry children, educate young people, train farmers and the like. these programs exemplify u.s. values and promote the power of democracy and the importance of
protecting human rights. america's trademark is its values. what we stand for, our leadership globally. and this budget would compromise our ability to promote american values. this is a penny wise pound foolish budget, as the security challenges that will grow from these humanitarian catastrophes will dwarf the cost of helping to address the challenges before them and testifies to failed states and havens for extremism. if we don't help, we'll have to pay on the other end. when we fail to help countries provide the stability they need to take care of their population, it becomes a breeding ground for terrorists. and then we have to respond by the use of our military and it's much more costly and costs people their lives. and climate change, perhaps the most pressing long-term national security challenge that faces the globe in the 21st century receives less than just
neglect, this is a budget that actively provides a catastrophic effect on climate-induced instability. we will not be able to respond to our international obligations in regards to climate change. i understand from mr. sullivan if confirmed, that this is the budget proposal that he has to accept and defend. however, both he and secretary tillerson should be put on notice that i and i think i speak for a number of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, consider this budget dead on arrival. and i would call on him to consider how, if confirmed, he will work with the senate to develop a more serious budget proposal over the coming months, one that safeguards and promotes american interests in the world, that deepens our partnership and alliances, that is sufficient to meet the challenges of an increasingly aggressive russia, an increasingly assertive china on the world stage, that provides our nation the tools that it needs to addressing pressing humanitarian crisis and
challenges and supports and extends our universal values in the best tradition of our nation. that's what we need to do as a congress. we're the ones that will pass the budget. we're the ones that have the responsibility to make sure that our budget speaks to our priorities, to our values and to our national interests. and, yes, it's very disappointing to see the president of the united states submit a budget that is just the opposite of what it should be in regards to putting money to american values and national security. we will be looking upon mr. sullivan, if he's confirmed, to work with us so we can develop a budget that really speaks to american values and american interests. with that, mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of john j. sullivan of maryland to be deputy secretary of state, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived.
the presiding officer: the senator from utah. a senator: mr. president, i rise today to discuss the federal communication commission's welcome proposal to end utility-style regulation of the internet by reversing the 2015 open internet order. lee anyone who has followed the debate about net neutrality has likely heard the f.c.c. is moving to squelch competition, limit consumer choice, raise prices and perhaps even destroy the internet. that's my favorite one. at least that's what some activists and crusading late-night comedians claim. mr. lee: but flun of this is true, -- but none of this is true. none of it. f.c.c. is reviewing the light touch regulatory environment that from the outset facilitated the kind of innovation that produced the internet and expanded internet access to millions of americans over the course of many years.
in order to understand this complicated issue, we need to be honest about what led us to where we are today. that s. the f.c.c.'s 2015 open internet order. the obama era f.c.c. claimed that its order implemented net neutrality or the equal treatment of all data over the internet, but that isn't quite right. the actual change was far broader than that. the f.c.c. reclassified broadband internet access service as a title 2 telecommunication service instead of a title 1 information service. that might sound like a small change, but this soundingly small, some might even say soundingly innocuous change applied a whole host of new deal era regulations that were meant to apply to monopolistic telephone companies, monopolistic utility companies, and apply those to the internet.
it subjected 21st century technology to the same rules that governed rotary telephones in the 1930's. why then did the f.c.c. do this? well, it wasn't because a free and open internet was harming americans. the activists and entertainers clamoring for more government control of the internet claimed that it was under attack by predatory internet service providers, but strangely enough, none of them actually provide evidence for that very serious assertion. if you're going to make that claim, back it up, point to evidence. instead they speak about imaginary or hypothetical harms. the 400-page order uses words like may, could, might, or potentially, not just here and there, not just a few times but several hundred times. nor did the f.c.c. issue the open internet order because congress told it too. on the contrary, nearly 20 years
ago our colleague senator wyden along with then-senator john kerry and others expressed -- expressly argued against the drastic action that would later be taken by the f.c.c. in 2015. after passing the bipartisan telecommunications act of 1996, this group of senators affirmed the internet status as a free and open information service stating that, quote, nothing in the 1996 act or its legislative history suggests that congress intended to alter the current classification of internet and other information services or to expand traditional telephone regulation to new and advanced services, closed quote. finally, the f.c.c. did not intervene because it had evidence of market failure. when the f.c.c. issued its order, the internet was still an explosive source of growth and innovation throughout america and throughout the world. as it had been for decades.
greater and greater number of americans gained access to the internet for the first time. perhaps because of this inconvenient fact, the f.c.c. hardly considered the possible economic effects of its regulations. the f.c.c.'s chief economist at the time went so far as to say that the rules were an economics free zone. what the internet does need is regulatory certainty which is why i recently introduced the restoring internet freedom act along with several of my colleagues. this bill would fully repeal the f.c.c.'s 2015 internet takeover. more importantly, it would prevent the f.c.c. from interfering with the internet in the future unless such action were specifically authorized by congress, but we shouldn't stop there. instead of waiting for regulators and activists to find new excuses to restrict the internet, we should open it
further to extend more choices to american consumers. in other words, we should ensure that federal policy promotes competition. as we know from experience, heavy handed regulations like the f.c.c.'s order tend to favor large, deep cok pet -- pocketed companies over start-ups that can't afford an army of lobbyists in washington. removing these regulatory barriers will allow upstart entrepreneurs to compete with incumbents for consumers' loyalty. those consumers, ordinary americans and their families, will benefit from the improved service and lower prices that this kind of competition inevitably creates. most american households currently have access to at least one internet service provider. many have access to two or more which might look like a competitive market exists for those households, but regulations can keep these different options from being
adequate substitutes for one another. in the government -- and the government restricts access to valuable resources that could be used for high quality internet services. according to a 2012 report by the obama administration, the federal government is sitting on upwards of 60% of the best radio spectrum, so-called beach front spectrum, which could be put to use for commercial internet services, like 5g wireless broadband. meanwhile, excessive permitting, licensing and environmental impact regulations delay broadband deployment over federal and public lands, especially in the west. finally, the office of management and budget found that private parties spend nearly $800 million each year to comply with f.c.c. paperwork requirements. the bill for this ends up being paid entirely by ordinary american families.
thankfully my colleagues in the senate have already identified many of these problems and have done work to address them. senators klobuchar and daines have spent considerable time on policies to streamline broadband internet deployment through their dig once proposals. senator heller is a champion for reducing barriers to deploying broadband throughout the west. senator nelson, the chairman and ranking member of the senate commerce committee, have introduced members in the past to free up radio spectrum held by federal agencies. these are a few of the many thoughtful ideas to reduce barriers to entry and increase competition, which has the potential to improve quality and bring down prices. the bipartisan nature of these policies demonstrates a clear understanding that improvements can be made. and everyone should be able to agree that more competition is better for american consumers,
especially those in riewcial or low income -- rural or low income households. everyone should also be able to agree that consumers should be protected from unfair and deceptive business practices. thankfully, the department of justice and federal trade commission already enforce clear rules that protect americans' enjoyment of a free and open internet. the combination of competition and strong enforcement of antitrust and consumer protections provides the benefits of an innovative marketplace while avoiding problems that come from tired, anticonsumer, outdated regulations like title 2 and like the 2015 open internet order. for the sake of american consumers and innovators, not for entrenched business interests, i hope to work with partners in the house, senate, and the f.c.c. to promote competition in the technology
sector, including among internet service providers. if that means underperforming companies have to work a little harder for their customers, all the better because the end result of lively competition is more investment and innovation by businesses which translates into more choices and better service for consumers. so i encourage my colleagues regardless of party or ideology to work with me on this project. if they're truly interested in a better internet, not just government intrusion and control for its own sake. i'm sure they can help me identify other barriers to entry to the information super highway. for now, a good start to ensure american consumers and small businesses benefit from the internet is to repeal the f.c.c.'s 2015 internet takeover, enforce antitrust and unfair and deceptive practice standards, and encourage competition among
the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: mr. president, i would also ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you very much. mr. president, today i wish to commend bonnie seaman who is the director of constituent services for my senate office. bonnie has not only been a trusted member of my staff, but a close family friend.
bonnie was born and raised on a turkey farm in pennsylvania. she the youngest of four children. she first began her public service career in government at the health and mental health retardation department. in pursuit of a college degree she attended indiana state university and graduated cum laude. after education, she worked as a special education teacher. bonnie's passion for helping others steered her career it the pennsylvania state senate. while working in the pennsylvania senate, she was asked by her supervisor if she was interested in working on my father's transition team after he was elected governor of pennsylvania in 1986.
this transition job offer was supposed to be temporary, but bonnie would spend the next 30 years working in state government for both then-governor casey and then when i got to state government years later. she worked as the governor's executive assistance for eight years and, of course, she wore many hats, managing the governor's staff, resolving constituent issues. but her most important role was providing support to the governor. her dedication and loyalty earned her respect from her fellow employees in the governor's office as well as those outside the office. after working in the casey administration, bonnie work as well with my father on his autobiography, entitled, "fighting for life. " he pays tribute to her as follows, "i could never have
made it through this without bonnie. it is hard to think of anything i could c have done without bonnie. few people have taught me more about loyalty than bonnie. i'm deeply indebted to her for her good skill and spirit that she brings up to this day. " that was written 22 years ago. i could say the same thing about bony's work in the united states senate -- bonnie's work in the united states senate. was i was elected to auditor she was part of the transition team and served in my office where she saw day-to-day schedule. in 2004 bonnie began work in the treasury department and when i was elected in 2006, i asked
bonnie to serve as director of constituent services. i new her compassion for others would make her an excellent director. she led the office of constituent services for ten years with distinction. with her gold standard professionalism and unimpeachable ethics, she was a mentor to her staff and served as a shinning example of quality public service. through her work bonnie has touched the lives of over 60,000 pennsylvania constituents. so on behalf of my family, as well as thousands of families across our commonwealth, i express our gratitude to bonnie seaman for her stellar public service. the building we worked in in harrisburg has this inscription, all public service is a trust given in faith and accepted in honor.
unquote. bonnie accepted the trust of the -- that was placed in her, she kept faith with taxpayers and brought honor to her work. i wish bonnie well and her retirement as she travels with her husband tom, attends yoga classes, and enjoys time with her family and friends. mr. president, i yield the floor.
mr. cotton: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: i have a request for eight committees to meet that has the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. cotton: in september will mark the anniversary of the nine african american students enrolled in the all-white middle school. ask anyone who lived through the crisis and they'll tell you they remember it vividly. they may not have been there in person, but they remember the
photos. the searing images of an angry mob all gathered in high school of all places. perhaps the most searing image is of elizabeth eckford who was only 15 years old. she didn't get word that the other students were going as a group. she went alone in a simple black and white dress she made. the mob dressed her and some threatened to lynch her. she later said of her walk it the school's entrance, it -- it was the longest walk i had ever walked in my whole life. i think it is of the highest importance we preserve their story and share it with our kids. it's a reminder of sad times in our history, more important, of the courage shown by nine young arkansans who helped other state and our nation overcome
deep-seeded prejudices by appealing to the better parts of our nature. we want our children to know what it took to gain and keep our freedom, the sacrifices made and is hardships endured. equally important is preserving schools like central high. that's why we made central high school a historic site years ago, though with one oversight. there are seven homes across the street from the school. their exteriors were in many the -- of the pictures now so famous. there's been a movement to improve the exteriors so that future students will see central high exactly as it looked when the little rock nine arrived for school. i'm prud to say that today -- proud to say that today i've introduced a bill with three pf my colleagues, the senior
senator of vermont, patent reform pat pat leahy and john lewis. it would extend the boundary to include these three homes . it this bill wouldn't authorize the federal government to take ownership of the homes and it wouldn't allow the national park service to buy them in the future. instead it would encourage the homeowners and national park service to work together to preserve these homes so future generations could see them and learn from them. ings that one reason why our -- that's one reason our bill has the support of the homeowners, the central high neighborhood association, and my state's historic advocacy group, preserve arkansas. all three have written to me to support the bill and i would like to submit their bills into
the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cotton: there's widespread agreement in the community and in our state in this site is not just a part of arkansas' history, it's a part of our national heritage. central high stands as a reminder of an article billy graham published during the crisis. there is no color line in heaven. it was a hard learned lesson and one i think we should do everything we can to pass on to the next generation. mr. president, i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico is recognized. mr. udall: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: under the previous order the senate stands previous order the senate stands the u.s. senate is considering the nomination of john sullivan. they voted 93 - 6. we are expecting confirmation tomorrow. right now the senate is in recess for the weekly party
meeting. they will be back in session at 215 eastern. we will have live coverage. the white house released the president's proposed budget which cuts funding for safety net programs such as healthcare and food assistance. they will have a news conference about the budget proposal. it's scheduled for 1245. we will have a live on c-span2. until then we will take you to the white house where mick mulvaney, spoke to reporters about the president's budget. [inaudible conversations] >> good morning. i wanted to make a brief statement before we get started about things that are probably more important than